Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature

Woodlands of Marburg is impressive and atmospheric and that was before I heard the ghost stories and saw Simon Higgins’ photograph of the strange shape on the landing. The ghostly sighting was confirmed by Donna Rawlins and a host of others. Storytellers in their element, they had a great story to tell.

As a relatively new author, and a total newcomer to literature festivals (this was my first) I found the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature heaps of fun. I can’t imagine all festivals run as smoothly though. Jenny Stubbs and her team of volunteers do a wonderful, wonderful job of juggling all the balls, books, kids and presenters.

The highlight for me was of course, the sessions with kids. Kids are imanginative, inspiring and irrespressible. They wear me out and reinvigorate me. Another highlight for me was the opportunity to talk with authors and illustrators I admire. It’s always a trap to drop names but here is just a snapshot of those I caught up with – Anita Bell, Anne James, Brian Falkner, Jan Ormerod (Water Witcher was a favourite of #2 son), Janeen Brian (Whare does Thursday Go was a favourite of #1 son), Justin D’Arth, Marc Mcbride (Deltora Quest illustrations are everywhere in our house!), Mark Carthew, Anna Ciddor, Ann Haddon, Simon Higgins, Ann James, Donna Rawlins, Simon French, Pat Flynn, Liz Flynn, Tony Davis, Elise Hurst and Terry Denton (no-one draws fish like Terry).

John and Douglas, from The Book Garden bookshop,who were on-site for the duration, are a testament to the value of expert children’s literature advice.

I was only there for three days but already I am crossing my fingers that I might be invited back another year.

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